Financial aid eligibility is based on a student's financial need, which is the difference between the college's Cost of Attendance (COA) and the student's Expected Family Contribution (EFC).
This federal EFC is calculated based on the information reported on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Most colleges use the federal EFC for awarding their own financial aid funds in addition to government aid. Fewer than 200 colleges use a supplemental form called the CSS PROFILE to calculate an institutional EFC. These "PROFILE" colleges still use the federal EFC for awarding federal and state aid.
This calculator lets you estimate your child's EFC before you complete the FAFSA by answering a subset of the questions on the FAFSA. In most cases, a student with a lower EFC or higher COA will qualify for more financial aid. You can use the calculator to evaluate the impact of changes in income and assets on eligibility for need-based financial aid.